New signs mark way to waterfront

Those who may have noticed the appearance of blue stands at such locations as outside the public library and by the mill office here over the past week should know there’s no mystery to solve.
“They’re to give promotion to the La Verendrye Parkway and to direct people to the waterfront,” Fort Frances CAO Bill Naturkach noted this week.
“We’re really excited about the quality of the signs,” he added. “We are planing on using the template of the designs on other materials to promote the parkway.
“It’s more than just a walkway along the waterfront, but a real attraction we want to use to draw people here,” Naturkach stressed.
The signs vary from roughly the size of an average traffic sign to two very large ones that will be located at the east and west entrances to town, where the current “Welcome to Fort Frances” signs are situated.
There will be 17 in total when they are all up.
To the best of his knowledge, no signs had been posted as of yesterday, Naturkach said, but the public should keep their eyes open in the near future.
Meanwhile, work on the Phase II of the waterfront project has starting up again as contractor George Armstrong Co. Ltd. is striving to get it completed before the grandopening ceremony July 1.
Work that remains to be done includes top soil and sodding operations, the excavation and paving of the bike path, installing the stone walkway, adding decking to boat ramps, and the final placement of furnishings.
There also will be reconstruction work done on Front Street between Victoria and Crowe avenues, as well as patching from Crowe to Butler, after town council agreed to pay $674,900 at its April 28 meeting.
The work completed so far includes the installation of light standards, the in-water work (the sloping, the fish habitat, pilings for the Sorting Gap Marina, and drainage improvements), the curbing along Front Street and the island at the Sorting Gap parking area, and the planting of trees.
While it originally was hoped the project would be done before the end of last year, work halted in November after unseasonably cold fall temperatures.
The town began the initial stages of a long-term program to reclaim and redevelop the waterfront from Pither’s Point to Victoria Avenue in 1986.
Between 1989-95, Phase I was initiated, resulting in the Sorting Gap Marina as well as the sidewalks and seating areas now seen along the waterfront.
In 1996, the town initiated Phase II to extend the renovations in a one-km span to Victoria Avenue. Public meetings were held and stakeholders were consulted for input into the plan.
In 2001, the town hired Engineering Northwest Ltd. to prepare detailed construction drawings based on the final report of the waterfront development plan devised in 1998 by consultants Hilderman, Thomas, Frank and Cram, and the fish habitat migration and compensation plan as prepared by Acres and Associated.
The plans were approved last June, but were scaled down slightly in late July to stay close to the project’s budget.